Monday, October 27, 2008

Secession Lecture on Nov 3rd


Freedom as Art

The concept of freedom is intimately tied to the political economy of capitalism; the received notion of parity between development and liberty intrinsic to modern political philosophy asserts that a free market is a necessary condition for political freedom. Yet as it has become impossible to conceive of freedom without capitalism, it is also impossible to discuss the modern concept of art without reference to the subject of capitalism—that is, the form of a radical individual subject. It is in fact through an assertion of unquantifiable values—taste, madness, inspiration—and through the formation of a radical political subject—that of the artist—that the production of art comes to be defined precisely by values that distance it from those of capital. Yet if the figure of the artist and his labor was once emblematic of the emancipatory idea of the ‘individual,’ in a society where it had not yet fully emerged, is this notion deradicalized by the democratization of subjective expression today? Can one trace the production of art through its relationship with—or rather distance from—capitalism, from the dawn of the modern market to the immaterial economy of late capitalism? Can art and its implicit subject of freedom provide a horizon of possibilities for new forms of social organization? Or are art and capital inevitably intertwined?

João Ribas (b. Braga, Portugal 1979) is Curator at The Drawing Center in New York and a widely published critic. His writing on art, film, literature, and design has appeared in numerous publications worldwide, and he is the curator of several surveys, projects, and exhibitions in the US and abroad. He is a frequent lecturer on aesthetics and cultural theory and currently adjunct professor at The School of Visual Arts, New York.

For further information and photographic material please contact:

Kathrin Schweizer
Secession, Association of Visual Artists Vienna Secession, Friedrichstraße 12, 1010 Vienna
Tel: +43-1-5875307-21, Fax: +43-1-5875307-34